The pause on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine could potentially be lifted soon, but health care workers worry that the handful of side effects felt by patients who got that vaccination may deter the public from getting inoculated at all.
Six patients who received the J&J vaccine reported feeling unusual blood clots that were later determined to be linked to the shot, and one person died. Two additional cases were reported afterward, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
Those individuals were out of 7 million Americans who were given the one-dose vaccine.
Some San Diego health care workers said they’re concerned that the handful of cases that experienced blood clots is making locals hesitant to get any sort of vaccine.
“Some people who are already on the fence about the vaccine may at this point now kind of be decided that, ‘Hey, this is a sign that I’m not going to get it,’ so that’s an unfortunate thing that has happened,” said Dr. April Segal of the Remedy Holistic Pharmacy in Little Italy. “Other people might just say, ‘Hey, I’m going to pick this vaccine over the other vaccine.”
One San Diegan said he was initially interested in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it only requires one does.
“I was thinking of waiting for it because I wanted to get one shot and then you’re done,” Dennis Black said. “But, I’m glad I didn’t now.”
Dr. Susan Little, who led COVID-19 vaccine trials in San Diego, said the general public shouldn’t be worried about the blood clot side effects.
“This rare event, if it is associated with the vaccine, it appears to occur in the first one to two weeks. Maybe one to three weeks after you’ve been vaccinated,” explained Little, who is the Co-Director of the UC San Diego Antiviral Research Center. “So people who are months out, it would appear that there doesn’t appear to be much to worry about.”
CDC advisers will meet Friday to discuss the future of the J&J vaccine.